By Melissa Payavis
After reaching success in the first round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship, the Owls’ season comes to a close as they were swept by West Virginia in the second round of the tournament. West Virginia only needed three sets to win the match, going 25-23, 25-18, and 25-12. Temple will end the season with a 20-10 record.
“I’m so happy for this team, and I’m very proud of what they’ve accomplished this year. These seniors helped to make history for this program,” Coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam said. To make the postseason for the first time in 15 years and to get a win is something that no one can take away. We battled through adversity this season, and I have to give this team a lot of credit for believing.”
West Virginia gained momentum in the first set, and after having 13 ties and four lead changes, they were able to come out on top. Freshmen Dana Westfield and Katerina Papazoglou nabbed nine kills on the night, leading the Temple squad. Senior Janine Simmons had eight kills and hit for .357. Junior Mia Heirakuji held up the backcourt with 12 digs, assisted by freshman Averi Salvador with eight.
In addition to making history, four Owls earned All-Conference selections in the American Athletic Conference: seniors Izzy Rapacz and Kyra Coundourides, junior Iva Deak, and Westfield. This group tied the 2014 squad for most players selected in program history. Rapacz was also unanimously selected, the first time a Temple player was able to earn that honor.